10 romantic restaurants to dine at in Sussex

The Ivy in the Lanes offers a touch of class with a casual atmosphere

The Ivy in the Lanes offers a touch of class with a casual atmosphere - Credit: Paul Winch-Furness

From cosy pubs to wine and dine restaurants, our county has plenty of places for dreamy dinner dates. Here's where to book a table for two in Sussex...

Romantic restaurants to dine at in East Sussex 

Bibendum, Eastbourne

Gallic classics served with aplomb by friendly waiting staff. The rustic-style restaurant has a warm, intimate feel; and the dishes are well executed. Mains may include confit of duck, seafood pasta marinara and slow roasted belly of pork. bibendumeastbourne.com

The Garden at The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne
Enjoy a regal touch laced with a cosy, intimate atmosphere at The Garden. Gorgeous high ceilings and elegantly laid tables in this period property are just the right balance of grandeur – and the food is just as classic. Dishes such as venison with port wine jus, salmon fillet with butter sauce and squab pigeon with madeira cream are sure to go down well. And of course, what better way to finish a romantic meal in Sussex than with a slice of banoffee pie? grandeastbourne.com

The Griffin Inn, Fletching
This is a cosy log-fired community-led inn with fabulous views of the South Downs. You get cosy open fires, 400-year-old beams, oak panelling, settles, red carpets and prints on the walls. Smart menus based on the finest seasonal produce include fresh fish from Rye; both food and beers are as local as can be. thegriffininn.co.uk

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Romantic restaurants to dine at in Brighton

The Chilli Pickle, Brighton
While in huge new premises near the Jubilee Library, The Chilli Pickle somehow manages to maintain an intimate atmosphere thanks to the clever use of lighting and room separation. They say the menu reflects the diversity of Indian cooking ‘from the highest Himalaya to the Konkan Coast’ and certainly every visit is a fascinating voyage through one of the world’s greatest culinary traditions. thechillipickle.com

The Ivy in The Lanes, Brighton
This location marries sophistication and friendliness, perfect for when you want to go somewhere special without feeling the pressure. Go for a brunch, with hot buttermilk pancakes or avocado benedict, or for a fancier affair delve into lobster linguine or rib-eye on the bone. Let the drinks flow with a bottle of champagne for the table, with local options and French options all on the menu. Finish the meal off with a chocolate bombe, with hot caramel sauce poured all over, and you're in heaven. theivybrighton.com

Riddle and Finns, Brighton
You won’t find a better sea view in Brighton, especially from the al fresco terrace or the window table in the first floor dining room of this sustainable seafood restaurant, built into one of the seafront arches. Ingredients come from the immediate area where possible, so your pan fried scallops are from Brighton waters and a rich and comforting fish pie is made with Sussex seafood. Local sourcing even extends to the drinks list, where you’ll find Court Garden Farm English Sparkling Wine from nearby Ditchling and Dark Star beers, brewed a few miles away in Partridge Green. riddleandfinns.co.uk

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The Pass at South Lodge Hotel offers an intimate dining experience

The Pass at South Lodge Hotel offers an intimate dining experience - Credit: Dave Greendave

Romantic restaurants to dine at in West Sussex 

The Crab and Lobster, Pagham

Overlooking Pagham Harbour, this 350-year-old building houses a smart, modern restaurant with rooms. Ancient flagstones and black timber beams contrast with the pastel coloured chairs and sparkling glassware in the airy restaurant. The kitchen profits from the abundance of local produce. Selsey fishermen, Sidlesham beekeepers and local dairy farms are amongst the suppliers of fresh food. Fish, crab and lobster regularly feature on the menu, which offers predominantly English cuisine with Mediterranean overtones. crab-lobster.co.uk

The Ginger Fox, Albourne
The pub has views over the downs from its extensive grounds. The beamed interior of this old pub has been painted in beige and oatmeal to create a light and comfortable place to eat and drink with friendly and efficient service. Local produce is reflected in the choice of beer and wine which includes Bedlam Smash and Bacchus respectively. thegingerfox.com

The Pass, Horsham
Looking for a dining experience that brings you closer to the food as well as the person? At The Pass your dining table is immersed right in the heart of the kitchen, so you can see all the action while keeping your fingers crossed for some yourself. Different chefs reside here with different menus throughout the year, so be sure to check who is offering what before you book yourself in. exclusive.co.uk/south-lodge/food/the-pass

Zari, Crawley
Indian restaurant Zari is part of Crawley’s culinary landscape, being more than 25 years old. The restaurant is a sophisticated, welcoming space with a huge exhibition kitchen. In the warmer months the spacious outdoor dining area houses a tandoor barbecue. Owners Sadique and Almara Miah have recruited chefs from different regions India to execute their eclectic menu. zarirestaurant.co.uk